The right way to bathe your baby

One of my aunts just became a grandmother. Her daughter had had a cesarean and found it difficult to bathe her child on her legs. The daughter also complained of excruciating lower back pain after every bath session. My aunt who had gone to take care of both of them also observed that when the baby was bathed on the mother’s legs, she cried like she was being suffocated. I asked my aunt to share a video of how the baby was being bathed.

It was as I had suspected.

First, the water temperature was too high. The baby was screaming not to being bathed but to the temperature. Next, I asked them to alter the way in which the baby was held for her bath. When a baby is placed on one’s legs—between the knees and ankles, face down—which is usually the custom in most Indian homes, then there are a couple of things to note:

* Avoid the position while giving a head bath. The water will enter the baby's mouth, ears, nostrils and eyes and every mug will add to her agony and discomfort. She will try to close her mouth in an attempt to prevent the water from entering it and the attempt might render her breathless.

* Try using shampoo hats, mugs that prevent water from falling on the face. Shampoo hats are a good solution for babies that have started sitting or standing.

For younger infants, who continue to be given a bath on the mother's legs

* Make sure that the child faces the ceiling and not the floor.

* While she is still lying down, wash the crown and the front portion of the hair with the help of a hand shower or shampoo mug, pushing the water backwards.

* Try sitting up the child on your thigh, possibly with the help of another person and wash off the back portion of the head in another quick two mugs of water. This way, you can avoid water from falling on the baby's face and entering her eyes.

* Always stuff your baby's ears with cotton before a bath. Do not forget to take it out after bath.